Today is Chinese New Year. My family loves Chinese food, but I find that takeout is never cheap because we end up getting so much food (so many items! “I’ll take an order of this and an order of that and a quart of this…”). It’s also never healthy. So, over the years, it has evolved that I make dinner for Chinese New Year. I love making it, but there’s a lot of cook time involved, especially if you go nuts and make all the things I did.
Every year I try to make something new. Last year I made egg drop soup (which is amazingly easy – chicken broth, eggs, and lemon juice). This year, I made steamed BBQ buns. This is one of our dim sum favorites and I was excited to try it myself. This is adapted from a recipe I found in Cooking Light 3 years ago and have held onto. The Cooking Light recipe uses pork, I use beef.
1 cup warm water
3 tbsp sugar
1 package dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
3 1/4 cups flour
3 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Combine water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Add flour, oil, and salt and stir until it forms dough. Then turn it out and knead it until it is smooth and elastic. This took only a couple of minutes for me. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for an hour or until doubled.
Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes. Knead in the baking powder and let it rest 5 minutes. Separate the dough into 10 sections.
3/4 lb sirloin, cooked until rare and thinly sliced, then diced
3 sliced green onions
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari (I always use tamari)
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
Mix ingredients together while the dough is rising and allow to sit.
When the dough is ready, roll each piece out to about a 5 inch round. Place 1/10th of the filling in the center. Gather the side and pinch together, twisting slightly.
You’re supposed to cook these in a bamboo steamer, but I don’t have one, so
I used a big saute pan, which I filled with water which I brought to a boil. I set the buns on a round pizza pan the kind with holes in it (put them on seam side down with a couple of inches between them). I covered it tightly with foil and set it on the saute pan. I allowed it to steam for 15 min, then I allowed it to rest for about 5 minutes. They were done perfectly. The dough is fluffy and light and the meat inside is rich and flavorful. These were a huge hit and I’ll probably have to make them every year!
The other dishes on the table last night were:
Fried rice: you can see my usual recipe here, this time I used zucchini, carrot, savoy cabbage, green onion, white onion, and bean sprouts
Shrimp lo mein: I boil buckwheat soba noodles with 1 head of chopped broccoli, then quickly cook 2 heads of baby bok choy with sesame oil and teriyaki sauce. I add the noodles and broccoli and about 1/2 lb of shrimp. I add more teriyaki and some tamari and stir until the shrimp are done
Edamame: I boil a bag of frozen edamame about 4 minutes, drain and cool and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt
Potstickers: I had some in the freezer fortunately, from the last time I made them. I always make these with ground turkey. I mixed up a dipping sauce of tamari, sweet and sour sauce, hoisin, ginger, green onions, and water.
We had green tea and I bought a box of fortune cookies for dessert. I wanted to make sesame chicken, but I was out of chicken!
Happy New Year!